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There are likely some things that you already know about The French Laundry — such as that it's one of the top restaurants in the U.S., or that Thomas Keller is the famed chef working his magic in the kitchen. Here is our list of the five things you should know, but might not, about this storied Five-Star restaurant:
1. If you're lucky, you'll get a ride home. In 2010, The French Laundry teamed up with BMW to offer an exclusive and limited concierge service, with rides home from the restaurant delivered in new Active Hybrid 7-Series BMW sedans.
2. It's eco-conscious. With its California location, it's only natural that The French Laundry would operate with an eye to creating a minimal impact on the environment. After a renovation in 2004, a geothermal heating and cooling system was installed, which uses the absorbing qualities of the earth to radiate or reduce heat.
3. It doesn't get fresher than this. Most of the vegetables, herbs and edible flowers used at the restaurant are sourced from a nearby garden. During our visit, an English cucumber salad with heirloom tomatoes was so fresh it made us question if we had ever really experienced vegetables they way were meant to taste.
4. This is a bicoastal operation. Thomas Keller's New York outpost Per Se is devoted to the same clean, precise American cuisine as The French Laundry. To make sure both kitchen teams are operating as one unit, there's a closed circuit camera in both kitchens so that the staffs can communicate with each other, even though they're separated by 2,900 miles.
5. The wine is just as important as the food. This is Napa, after all, so put yourself in the hands of the sommelier, Dennis Kelly, and his well-trained staff and let them steer you to one of the many wines by the glass, half bottles or bottles on offer. If you've found a special wine during your Napa Valley explorations, you can bring it along to drink at The French Laundry, for a $75 corkage fee.